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Su B

Patients sometimes ring me up to say, ‘I had to take antibiotics for my bronchitis/cystitis/infection of some sort, so I stopped taking the herbs for a while.’

There’s a misunderstanding here. Some antibiotics should not be combined with alcohol, but if you are taking herbs in tincture form, you can evaporate most of the alcohol by adding hot water to the tincture and letting it stand for a few minutes.

The herbs themselves will not quarrel with the antibiotics at all: in fact, you can use them to help avoid some of the unwanted effects of antibiotics, like digestive upsets and fungal infections.

Antibiotics are wonderful, and they save lives, but all drugs have their drawbacks. If you need them, back them up with herbs like Calendula, Melissa and Filipendula so that your system can make the most of them without having to suffer side-effects. If you find yourself taking them repeatedly, it’s worth taking herbs to support your immune system and help deal with whatever is making you vulnerable to frequent infections. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but they don’t address the reasons why your body didn’t repel the infection in the first place.

So it’s not a case of either/or: both drugs and herbs have a part to play.

EDITOR: Sue has a great Herb Handbook available from Amazon or from her website. 

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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